Sunday, 12 August 2007

Nearly Sleepless

The dust is just settling from Sleepless in the Saddle 2007 and with it four spent members of aber uni mtb club return to their respective homes. My body feels depleated and my arse feels violated from hours in the saddle.

The event began for me at around 10am on Saturday when I turned up to find Olly and Josie well established camp - ground zero. The event began at 2pm and foolishly I had let on that I had been running recentlly and was therefore coerced into the les mans-style start of running about half a mile to your bike before doing the first lap. I ran fairly well only to be dominated by numerous dozens of people after the run that were obviously far better riders than runners. I had not had time to ride the course before hand and found it nice if a little teasing. We returned to a point within sight the finish line at least twice, before being sent several more miles until the final relief of the finish. The entire lap was 7.5 miles long and my first run had been fairly appuling. I changed with Olly and the race continued.

My second lap was perhaps my best being approximately 35 to 40 minutes excluding the errors made in change over (the fast guys were doing about 25 to 30 minutes) so I was pretty chuffed. It wasn't to last. Our fifth rider - a randomer we picked up called Sasha - had to drop out for medical reasons and we were left one rider less than was optimal for a mixed team. But on the up side Arran turned up in a surprise to me to take some pics, which was cool.

My third lap was at about 9:30pm and by then the course was in complete darkness. I had never done any night riding before and it was quite exhilirating. I only had one 10w lamp, a purple glow stick and a next-to-usesless commuter light, yet was able to keep pretty much up with my former pace just by drawing on my experiance at dealing with the unexpected on the trail. In fact our team made was not by our fitness, but our experiance of relatively gnarley Welsh trails and DH courses. Practically all of us were able to dominate practically everyone on the downs, but only to be passed again on the climbs.

After that lap I decided to get a few hours of shut-eye, but attempting to wake myself at 1:30am after perhaps 3 hours of sleep with only the prospect of a dark, dangerous and un-rewarding ride in the rain was exceedingly difficult. However, I pulled myself out of the tent and changed with Olly again and went off into the night. After a lonely lap where I seemed to see no one for the entire lap in a surreal expance of empty single-track I returned to the change-over area to find on relief. Everyone was asleep. I toyed with the idea of doing another lap, but quickly put it from my mind with the apathetic nature of my team mates and settled down to sleep.

Stu woke at around 7am I think and put a lap in and then I took over for my fifth lap - now in daylight. I returned and Stu masochisticly took over for another lap. Olly and Josie took another lap a piece and I did my sixth and final lap with chears from the spectators at nailing the downs and trying to catch air at every available bump (I think Olly employed a similar tactic).

In conclusion, not quite sleepless in the saddle, but nearly as tiring as that.


Oversleeping by I'm from Barcelona


ptigga said...

What was your team's name?

I was in the Fig Racing Rolls team, (we were also down to 4 racers in a mixed team).

I thought that the course was really well planned out with a good mixture of terrain. The singletrack downhill was much fun, and that 2nd to last descent, with all the spectators was a nice end to the lap.

I ended up doing 7 laps and my lap-times were all around 45 minutes, which I was quite pleased with.

If you liked the night-riding then you should try Dusk til Dawn in October.

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